The monksbelt piece that adorns our entry is my favorite from all the projects in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. This current narrower version on the Standard is another heirloom monksbelt piece in the making. The ground cloth is weft rep.
This is snail’s-pace weaving, with 2 picks of 16/2 cotton for the ground weave between every 6/1 Fårö wool pattern pick.
“To weave [weft rep]…the weft must be longer than the width of the warp and so the weft has to arc across the shed. There are two ways to do this: with many small waves across the width or with a large and high arc…The tiniest bit of unevenness can quickly build into hills and valleys across the weft line…”
The Big Book of Weaving, p. 236
Weft Rep in Three Steps
1. Make a Mountain.
After throwing the shuttle, increase the length of the weft by making it into a large arc in the open shed. Put one finger through the warp to form the peak while keeping enough tension on the thread with your other hand to maintain a good selvedge.
2. Make Hills and Valleys.
Keeping the shed open, push the mountain down into hills and valleys to evenly distribute the extra weft.
Turn the mountain into hills and valleys with your finger.
Simply drag your spread-out fingers lightly through the weft.
TIMESAVER – Slowly pull the beater toward you (shed open), smooshing the weft into a wavy line. Stop two or three inches away from the fell line.
3. Flatten the Hills
Treadle for the next shed. On the closed shed beat in the weft. Two short pulses with the beater distribute the weft more effectively than a single squeeze with the beater.
Watch for little loops that may form in places where there is a bit too much weft. To correct, open the shed, pull that portion of the weft back into a little hill and redo.
TIMESAVER – Draw the back of your fingernail across the warp where you see excess weft. This is often enough to even out little bumps.
Slower weaving develops into a rhythmic pace that is comfortable. And the cloth grows, line by line.
Some of the monksbelt flowers have a different color for the three center picks. The new color is only temporary, so I simply carry the first weft color up the side for that short distance.
More than one shuttle doesn’t necessarily mean more difficult. Everything runs a little smoother when there is an efficient exchange of shuttles between your hands.
How to Handle the Exchange of Shuttles
For this example, the temporary weft starts from the left and goes to the right. Weave the first pick of the temporary weft, catching the shuttle with your right hand. (If the first pick of the temporary weft goes from right to left, reverse the right hand/left hand instructions, here and following.)
Transfer the shuttle with the temporary weft (active weft) to your left hand.
With your right hand pick up the shuttle that has the weft that will be carried up the side (inactive weft). Bring the shuttle all the way around the active weft and then lay the shuttle down again.
Transfer the shuttle with active weft back to your right hand and continue weaving.
Follow steps 2 – 4 until the section with temporary weft is finished.
Tuck in the tail of the temporary weft and continue weaving with the weft that has been carried up the side.
As much as I tried to look under the warp to see it, I could not get a decent view of the reverse side of the fabric. Until now. I am overjoyed to see that this gray and blue warp is even better than I had imagined. As the first towel on the warp rounds the cloth beam I see a silver-like glimmer behind the cursive “Peach,” and shiny blue loveliness at the borders.
Yet, this is but a fleeting glimpse. Oh, drawloom, you make me wait sooo long to see what I have woven. In that waiting, I continue to weave, content with the process. The towels that will result will last a very long time. That makes every minute at the loom time well spent.
We work and work for things that are temporary. Even the most spectacular drawloom-woven towels wear out eventually. God has placed eternity in our hearts. We know there’s more to life that these fleeting days. Eternity gives meaning for today. The full scope of what God is doing is beyond our here-and-now comprehension. But at times, when we are given a glimpse into his wondrous mysteries, we are assured that eternity with him will far surpass our brightest imaginations.
I first noticed that something was amiss right after advancing the warp. Something brushed my knees when I sat down. Aha!Beam cords, attached to the tie-on bar. I see that the tie-on bar is going straight from the cloth beam to the breast beam. I had forgotten to bring the tie-on bar over the knee beam. Really? Nearly everyone does this at least once when they are starting out. But it has been a few years since I made this mistake. Apparently, I still need my checklist.
Fortunately, forgetting the knee beam is one of the easiest blunders to remedy.
Re-Set the Knee Beam
1. Remove the knee beam. Rest the beam on the loom frame.
2. Unlatch the front ratchet to release warp tension.
3. Pull the knee beam all the way out. Put it back across, underneath the beam cords. Rest the beam on the loom frame.
4. Reseat the knee beam gently, positioning the beam cords along with the beam.
5. Tension the warp. Resume weaving.
May your trouble be inconsequential and short lived.
I have questions galore as I begin a new warp on the combination drawloom. Is this the best sett for these threads? How are my sheds? What will orange-ey weft colors do on this pewter and blue warp? Is the image of this first design better face up, or face down? How can I include a couple extra colors in the design? The loom is set up with 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units. I’m eager to begin!
Sampling at the beginning of the warp gives me answers. The sett is good—18 ends per centimeter, with 16/2 cotton in 6-shaftirregular satin. After some tweaking, the sheds are good—and all the treadles touch the floor when the optimum shed is reached. The weft colors look good—better than expected. And, definitely, the jam jars need to be face down—so, I reverse the image in Affinity Designer on the computer and print out a new chart. I can sneak in some extra colors with narrow weft stripes—beginning and ending borders. I’m ready to roll! New kitchen towels in various designs are moving forward! First up…Peach Jam Jars.
~It is a joy to have you visit with me every week! It is time for my annual pause for the month of July. I’ll see you back here on Tuesday, August 3, 2021.~
Until then, may the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.